A Look Back on SpringFest '18

- Courtney Fortin, Marketing

While working hard to plan this year’s highly anticipated SpringFest, MUSIC Matters members have been reminiscing on last year’s successful festival. Last April, University of Michigan students and the surrounding Ann Arbor community joined together for a fun-filled day, complete with art installations, a fashion show, food trucks, performances by local artists, and so much more. Over 60 student organizations united on the Diag and N. University Ave. to highlight the diverse passions and interests within the Michigan community. Whether they received a henna tattoo and learned about Sikhism from the Sikh Student Association or splattered paint at SpringFest’s Chill Zone with mental wellness clubs, festival-goers were able to learn about all of the wonderful community outreach endeavours within campus organizations. In addition to all of these great clubs, local boutiques like Bivouac, Motivation, and York Project brought in merchandise to further display all the Ann Arbor community has to offer.

SpringFest not only provided a platform for student organizations and local Ann Arbor businesses to showcase their products and initiatives, but it was also an incredible opportunity for MUSIC Matters to raise money for and spread awareness of our social ventures. Last year was the fifth year of putting on the campus-uniting festival, but it was the first year that MUSIC Matters introduced a grant program to assist other social action groups on campus. In 2017, MUSIC Matters launched our CoMMunity Partnership with Books for a Benefit, a nonprofit student organization dedicated to promoting literacy to students in southeast Michigan. Through funding and volunteering, MUSIC Matters ultimately helped BFB construct a library for the Flint community. In addition, festival-goers were encouraged to write their favorite books on bookshelves that would later be donated to BFB as well. Overall, through SpringFest, MUSIC Matters was able to create an unforgettable day that would benefit the Ann Arbor community for years to come.

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The festival was capped off at night with an electrifying performance from Louis the Child and Lost Kings. While in past years MUSIC Matters has brought in various artists, such as 2Chainz, J Cole, Lil Yachty, and Migos, last year’s performance was especially unique because it was the first time that our organization brought in an electronic dance headliner. Louis the Child, who have previously headlined Coachella and Bonnaroo, enthralled the crowd at Hill Auditorium, and proceeds from the concert, as well as our fundraising efforts, further aided MUSIC Matters in supporting the missions of our CoMMunity Partners. Whether they knew it or not, everyone who attended either the day or night portion helped contribute to sparking social change in the community.

MUSIC Matters is excited to make the 2019 SpringFest bigger and better. This year, our partners are Heal-Move-Shift and Michigan Movement, and can’t wait to surpass last year’s fundraising amount by organizing an even more incredible SpringFest experience for the Ann Arbor community. We have already begun preparations for the event, and cannot wait to see all of our hard work come to fruition on April 16th.

Our Rebrand

Last semester, MUSIC Matters created an updated mission statement that we feel encompasses the true spirit of our organization and aligns more directly with our current community outreach values: “We aim to utilize the power of music to unite the Michigan community and promote educational accessibility.” Ayla Ahmed, Co-President of MUSIC Matters, explained that the need for the logo change came because “we have grown a lot from our foundation of putting on concerts into an organization with a much larger purpose— and our logo should reflect that.” With all of this in mind, our team set out to create a logo that we feel best represents our new mission statement and the organization we have become.

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Our new logo features a pair of headphones that form a box around the words “MUSIC Matters.” The headphones come together on the left side to form the shape of a pencil, representing the education-centered social ventures aspect of our organization. This logo design was presented by Michelle Fan, one of our wonderful members. “I’ve never tried graphic design before,” Fan said, “but it’s something I’ve always been interested in.” While our previous logo was blue and green, we also decided to change our colors to blue and yellow, a combination that we feel best represents our club and ties us more closely to U of M and its values.

In order to create the logo, our graphic design team began by doing some research on the logos of other organizations, music companies, and community service groups. The team then held several design sessions where they brainstormed almost twenty logo ideas, and from there, they narrowed those choices down to three. Eventually, they decided on one logo that they felt best represented MUSIC Matters. The idea was then presented to our leadership team by Michael Barsky, our Creative Director. Using feedback from the leadership team, Michael, Michelle, and the entire graphic design team worked to finalize the logo that we now have. “The team did an incredible job moving from concept to deliverable,” Barsky said. “I am so proud of the way our team was able to unify our music production and social venture elements into a cohesive and artistic logo.” We are excited to move into this next year with our new logo, and are greatly appreciative to all within the MUSIC Matters family who contributed to the process and made this change possible!

Calling All Big Thinkers

MUSIC Matters, since its founding in 2011, has always understood the value of an education such as the one that the University of Michigan provides. However, with that understanding comes the recognition that college affordability is a problem many students seeking higher education face. So, in 2013, we founded the Big Thinkers Scholarship, a student-funded, need-based, endowed scholarship, and one of the first of its kind. The $50,000 endowment generates roughly two $2,000 scholarships per year, which are open to all current and incoming University of Michigan students.

Two years ago, we awarded this scholarship to high school student Zahra Makki, who we felt embodied the essence of a “big thinker.” She was born in Beirut, Lebanon, but moved to Dearborn, Michigan in 2006. She is now a sophomore at the University of Michigan, and, on campus, is involved in the Arab Student Association, Arabesque, and the Michigan Refugee Assistance Program. Zahra plans to major in either Public Health or Computer Science, and enjoys learning from and working with her peers, both inside and outside of the classroom. We have greatly enjoyed watching her succeed at the University of Michigan, and we can’t wait to see where she goes next!

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Each year, the scholarship is accompanied by a theme. Two years ago, in alignment with the university’s goals and values, the theme was focused around the idea of civic leadership. We were searching for a scholarship applicant who we felt wasn’t afraid to push the boundaries, “think big,” and positively impact the Ann Arbor community for years to come, and we found this in Zahra.

This year, our theme is Change. MUSIC Matters has experienced a large amount of change during these past few years, and from this change we feel as though we have emerged a stronger and more impactful organization. Most notably, we have updated our mission statement to focus more on our education-centered community outreach endeavours and values. Because we know the world around us is constantly evolving, we are always searching for new ways to adapt to it and further our involvement in the community in new ways. We aim to find two open-minded and perseverant scholarship applicants with a desire to bring about a positive change in our community and a willingness to learn from and collaborate with others.

MUSIC Matters takes incredible pride in having the opportunity to help fellow and future University of Michigan students and make a true difference on campus and within the community at large. This year’s scholarship application closed on February 15, and we cannot wait to select the winners later this semester!

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MM IN LA, WINTER '19

- Lucy Freeman, Marketing Chair

When I told my friends that the alumni from my club were funding a week-long professional development trip to LA for five members of leadership, they couldn’t believe it.

“Wow! Your club sounds so cool!”

They’re right. MUSIC Matters is an incredible organization, and the fact that an opportunity like the LA Trip exists proves how much the organization and its alumni care about the development of their members. This trip gave me insights to bring to the MUSIC Matters team back home and introduced me to roles in the entertainment industry I didn’t even know existed.

Each day of the trip we met incredible people from the some of the biggest companies in LA. One of my favorite meetings was with Brandon Shaw, the Director of Corporate and Executive Communications at ICM. We discussed ways in which MUSIC Matters could improve our public relations strategy, as well as build press contacts and brand awareness. It was incredibly moving to see how excited a Michigan alumnus was about helping and encouraging students, and equally as exciting to learn from someone with years of experience in the professional world.

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Another personal highlight of the trip was our day of meetings at AEG. We met with Gary Gersh, Matt Ferrel, and James Allen. Gary, a member of the MUSIC Matters board, is an entertainment industry legend who has signed acts such as Nirvana and Counting Crows. One member on the trip, Noah, was even jokingly offered a job by Gary after demonstrating to him how to flip a Spotify playlist order. Matt Ferrel shared incredibly useful knowledge with us regarding how to structure marketing timelines most effectively for festivals (side note: he is also a partner at a super cool coffee shop with a location in Detroit, Populace Coffee). As a coffee fanatic and former barista myself, I loved seeing how he incorporated that passion into his career. Our last meeting of the day was with James Allen, who runs merchandise at Goldenvoice (think Coachella, Firefly, Hangout, etc.). I loved gaining insight as to how he effectively manages a team of creatives to create merchandise that fits with a festival theme, as well as what logistical aspects he has to consider to successfully pull off a merchandise line. The AEG offices are also super cool – decked out with neon light signs, concert photographs and posters, and even a jigsaw puzzle!

Although our days were chock-full of meetings, and that was definitely what we were most excited about, we still made time to have some fun in LA! Some of our favorite outings were walking down the Santa Monica pier, grabbing coffee at cafés, and getting ice cream sandwiches from Diddy Riese. I am also so grateful for the friendships that were formed during this trip. There is no group I would have rather walked an hour to four different coffee shops trying to find a table with.

So thank you, MUSIC Matters, for the incredible opportunity to travel to LA and meet with some absolutely amazing people. Opportunities like this are one of the many reasons I truly believe I am a part of the coolest club on campus.

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Local Artist Spotlight: The Stellars

- Alex Lynch & Danny Ivanov, Local Talent

MUSIC Matters is pumped to present our second Local Artist Spotlight: The Stellars!

Raised in Ann Arbor, rock band The Stellars have solidified their place as a local favorite in the music scene throughout their time at the University of Michigan. Consistently proving themselves to students and townies alike through amazing shows in some of the area’s most noteworthy venues, as well as with a handful of outstanding releases, the group are basically rock legends. The Stellars currently feature Erez Levin on vocals, Dan Sagher on drums, Alex Fuchs on guitar, and Oren Levin on bass.

Photo courtesy of Josh Knoller

Photo courtesy of Josh Knoller

Today marks a self-proclaimed fresh start for The Stellars, as they transition from playing songs off of their 2016 album “Interthestellars” into a new era for the band. Along with the release of their brand new singles — collectively titled “The Stellars Release A Double Single 2: This Time It’s Two Songs Again” — the band will celebrate with an all-ages homecoming show tonight, January 25th, at The B-Side. Supported by close friends The Left Lanes and Nadim Azzam, the show is sure to be an exceptional, high-energy conversation between the band and the audience.

While their influences range all across the musical spectrum, the group says that this is their most punk-inspired music yet, expressed in a unique style The Stellars call “igneous rock.” The double single features a cover that is symbolic of the music it represents — a drawing of a futuristic city lies opaquely atop an image of the streets of Kerrytown late at night, intermingling the angst of the present and an excitement for the future. The double single includes tracks “The Distracted Age” (featuring the incredible Charlie Burg) and “Anakin, You’re Breaking My Heart!”.

Following this release, The Stellars say that we can expect small, consistent releases throughout the year. Due to their close connection to Ann Arbor’s music scene (most of the band grew up learning at the Ann Arbor Music Center and playing at the B-Side), the group is dedicated to connecting with the Ann Arbor community and University of Michigan students. Case in point, post a picture featuring their posters scattered around Ann Arbor and The Stellars promise to make you famous!

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HoMe for the Holidays

Looking back on 2018, we have had an incredibly successful first semester. We showcased local talent at our Rock the Mic event, raised over $19,000 on Giving Blueday, selected our Community Partners for the school year, and began preparing for SpringFest this upcoming semester. We have been working tirelessly to promote educational accessibility and a love for music throughout Ann Arbor, and have some exciting projects and events coming up in the next few months.

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While our responsibilities, school work, and schedules might feel overbearing during the holiday season, it’s important that we reflect on the true spirit of the holiday season and the primary mission of MUSIC Matters: giving back. As an organization and as a community, we have so much to be thankful for and so much to give back to the community, especially during the holidays. Once classes are finished and finals are turned in, we are lucky enough to have families and loved ones to return home to and celebrate holiday traditions with. We asked our MUSIC Matters family which traditions they were most thankful for and excited to celebrate. Some anticipated lighting the Hanukkah candles accompanied by Dean Martin’s “Let it Snow” or decorating the Christmas tree with Wham!’s “Last Christmas,” while others eagerly awaited baking cookies and admiring Christmas lights with family and friends.

While the answers varied, it was clear that we have so much to be appreciative of during this season and so much to give back to our Ann Arbor community. As we celebrate these traditions, we remember those who may not be as lucky as we are and the importance of the MUSIC Matters mission. So, while we are thankful that we were able to return home and spend the holidays with loved ones, we are just as excited to jump back into this next semester, work with our CoMMunity Partners Heal-Move-Shift and Michigan Movement, and continue to make a lasting impact on our community at large!

'Tis the Season for Giving

Yesterday’s Giving Blueday 2018 was a full twenty-four hours of clamoring social media feeds, pleading emails, and sneaky Venmo requests. University of Michigan students fought tooth and nail to fundraise for their organizations -- MUSIC Matters in particular united under the objective to surpass last year’s success of $27,000 in Giving Blueday donations and to reach $30,000. With the help of our charitable alumni and donors, MUSIC Matters triumphed one Giving Blueday challenge after the next, motivated by the knowledge that proceeds will support SpringFest, our lifestyle festival that brings together the Michigan community and funds our student-driven social ventures. Giving Blueday is an exciting time of year, but we realize the greater takeaway from this season of giving: we passionately advocate for and give to causes we care about not because we want to dominate the competition of fundraising challenges, but because we are recognizing our own blessings and want to give back to those who may not have the same resources that we do. To emphasize humility to our MUSIC Matters family before we dove into the pandemonium of Giving Blueday, we asked our members what they were thankful for.

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Responses were instantaneous, and many overlapped! With these blessings in mind, our MUSIC Matters team proceeded to fundraise for our organizations with fervor. Many of our members have expressed thanks and admiration for the authenticity of our social ventures and fundraising efforts. Thus, post-Giving Blueday, and every day, MUSIC Matters advances with pride in our missions. A lot has been accomplished in twenty-four hours, but with the constant support of each other and our donors, MUSIC Matters will cultivate social change to last a lifetime.

MUSIC Matters expands social impact with two new CoMMunity Partnerships: Michigan Movement and Heal-Move-Shift

- Jessica Miller

In Fall 2017, MUSIC Matters launched the CoMMunity Partnership, a $2,500 grant that we provide to student organizations on campus so that we can work together with them to help them benefit the community. Last year, our 2017-2018 CoMMunity Partner was Books for a Benefit. We worked with this fellow student nonprofit organization to help them build a library in Flint, Michigan. MUSIC Matters members collected over one thousand book donations and helped stock, decorate, paint and transform The Sylvester Broome Empowerment Village into a beautiful library for the Flint community. This year, after hearing from four incredible student organizations, our members selected Michigan Movement and Heal-Move-Shift to be our CoMMunity Partners of 2018-2019.

The CoMMunity Partnership is an important part of MUSIC Matters because one of the organization’s main goals is to impact the community in positive ways. Hearing from these four organizations was a very impactful because our members were able to see the amazing changes the students from these organizations are making on our campus, surrounding community, and across the globe. It reminds us of why we all joined MUSIC Matters in the first place: to unite the community through a shared love of music and helping others through social ventures.

Ultimately, our members chose two incredible organizations to work with for the CoMMunity Partnership. Michigan Movement is a student-run 501(C)(3) nonprofit that provides aid to individuals, families, and students experiencing homeless in Ann Arbor. They are the only organization on campus whose main goal is to provide aid to those experiencing homelessness and they do so by empowering the homeless by directly working with them. Michigan Movement helps the homeless by first consulting with them and assessing needs, and then distributing care packages consisting of food, clothes, hygiene supplies, and resource lists. Among other projects to increase awareness, the organization also volunteers and partners with Mercy House and Avalon Housing, two local organizations that help the homeless. MUSIC Matters hopes to work with them in order to aid the homeless in our community and help the organization of achieving their goal to expand outside of the Ann Arbor community.

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MUSIC Matters will also be partnering with Heal-Move-Shift, a student organization that works with Middle Eastern and North African communities in Michigan through health training and education programs. The organization hopes to heal the community, move the conversation towards a healthier direction, and shift the stigma away from health concerns through engagement with Ann Arbor and Detroit communities. The organization works with Crestwood High School in Dearborn Heights, Michigan and Central Academy Pilot Program in Ann Arbor on the three tenets of nutritional health, cardiovascular health, and mental health. MUSIC Matters has partnered with Heal-Move-Shift in order to help them achieve their goals of expanding their programs to other schools.

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With these two CoMMunity Partnerships, MUSIC Matters is expanding their influence in the Ann Arbor and Michigan community in hopes of making real, positive change. With the help of Michigan Movement and Heal-Move-Shift, our members can engage with the community even further while continuing to inspire others through music.

The Intersection of Fine Art and Live Music

- Gabby Franco, Head of SpringFest Experience

The concert that took place at the UMMA this past Friday, October 19th, was the first ever SpringFest Showcase: A Night at the Museum. This event originated out of my desire to increase the number of music based events that MUSIC Matters, and specifically the SpringFest committee, puts on during the Fall semester on campus. I also wanted to host the event in a unique location to add diversity to the lineup of concert venues that are available to the Ann Arbor community. This venue allowed me to create a unique way for students and the larger community to engage with music and art. Rather than separating the two mediums, I wanted to bring them together and highlight the beauty of the music without the typical distractions that are associated with concerts.

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The lineup consisted of three different acts, The Kelseys, Andrea Doria, and OSSI, all of which created unique yet equally alluring performances. The bands definitely attracted their individual fan bases but these attendees were introduced to new musicians and art by staying for the entirety of the event. The UMMA also generously co-hosted the event with us, which allowed us to provide the concert at zero cost to attendees, thus reinforcing our goal of uniting the community through music. This collaboration also allowed us to reach a greater spectrum of individuals across the community because our two different organizations have both overlapping and differing audiences.

Overall, I am extremely proud that our first ever concert in the UMMA went as well as it did. There was a lot of work put in by Anuksha, Danny, the local talent team and myself, and it is an amazing feeling watching everything come to fruition. I look forward to continuing to bring people together through smaller music based events and for our future collaborations with the UMMA.

CoMMunity Partnership: Past, Present, and Future

- Lucie Rosenthal, Head of CoMMunity Partnership

For those who may not know, the MUSIC in MUSIC Matters actually stands for Michigan Undergrads Serving In the Community, and although a large goal of our organization is to unite the campus through music, we also work to unite our campus through our different social ventures. Last year, MUSIC Matters debuted the CoMMunity Partnership, a new social venture aimed to help other social impact-based student organizations by providing them with a grant for up to $2500 and hands-on help from our members to complete a project.

Last year, we kicked off the CoMMunity Partnership by working with the incredible Books for a Benefit, an organization whose values we found to really align with the values of MUSIC Matters. Together, we planned and executed a library build in Flint, MI. From organizing a book drive to having hundreds of students sign bookshelves at SpringFest, putting the minds and power of our two organizations together allowed us to create social impact that would not have been possible without the support of each and every member of both organizations. Witnessing the transformation from a boring space to a vibrant library was extremely rewarding, and this year our impact is going to grow even stronger.

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For the 2018-2019 school year, MUSIC Matters is fortunate enough to be able to have two Community Partners. As our CoMMunity Partnership grows, our club’s presence as a social impact organization grows, too. Seeing how passionate all of our members and other organizations are about the CoMMunity Partnership is so exciting, and I can only imagine where this year’s Partnerships will take us. MUSIC Matters is more than just music -- it’s making a difference by bringing people together.

Two Friends at Necto!

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- Ashvin Sharma, Head of Artist Discovery

Matt Halper and Eli Sones are the masterminds behind the electronic dance music group Two Friends. Their passion for music production launched them from high school bedroom producers to one of the most promising DJ duos of 2018. Both Matt and Eli started as friends in 7th grade and by the time High School graduation came around they had formed the group Two Friends. Known for their viral remixes of “Mr. Brightside”, “I miss you” and “Trap Queen”, as well as their official remixes for Lana Del Rey, Tove Lo, The Chainsmokers, the duo have accelerated their growth in past years and are continuing to establish the group as a wide-ranging electronic sensation. They have also received the “Top DJ Set” award from Soundcloud for “Big Bootie Mix Volume 11.”

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The duo have played at various locations throughout the U.S and Canada and have a growing international fanbase which will soon propel them in the industry. They have sold out multiple shows at venues like Necto which proves their growing popularity all over the country. Two Friends are quick to prove their versatile songwriting and production, drawing upon a wide variety of live instrumentation to create a truly multi-faceted sound with every release. With support now coming from the likes of Tiesto, The Chainsmokers, Martin Garrix, and many more, and with a whole host of original releases locked in for 2018, Matt and Eli undoubtedly look set to dominate this year and beyond.


Buy your tickets for their show at Necto on September 27th to witness their exhilarating set live!

https://www.ticketfly.com/purchase/event/1734202






From the Presidents of MUSIC Matters

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- Ayla Ahmed & Grant Rivas, Co-Presidents

As incoming MUSIC Matters Presidents, we are incredibly excited for MUSIC Matters to kick off its 8th year at the University of Michigan. Over the past three years, we have seen the organization generate positive impact across campus and look forward to carrying on this work.

 

This year, we hope to center MUSIC Matters around our three key pillars: driving sustainable social impact, growing our on-campus events, and creating an exceptional membership experience. To achieve these goals, we are launching several new initiatives across the organization. We are expanding our CoMMunity Partnership grant, by now supporting two partner student organizations. Additionally, MUSIC Matters will be hosting its first ever fall concert on September 27th at Necto with headlining DJ duo Two Friends. We are also providing more opportunities for new members to gain exposure to the organization by offering more trainings, learning sessions, and early leadership opportunities.

 

During our time in the organization, MUSIC Matters has helped us form some of our closest friendships at Michigan and develop into better campus leaders. Student organizations are essential to creating an exceptional and inclusive campus community, and MUSIC Matters is proud to be a part of what makes Michigan the home of the leaders and best.

As MUSIC Matters continues to grow, we hope to share this wonderful organization with even more students. If you are interested in joining the MUSIC Matters community, come to our mass meetings on September 11th and 12th at 7pm in Blau 3580 or email us at musicmatters@umich.edu!

 

Through the Eyes of a Hangout Music Festival Intern

 - Marty Hubbard

My name is Marty Hubbard and I'm a Senior out of Chelsea, MI majoring in Music and minoring in Entrepreneurship, Sales, and Performing Arts Management. My love of music and charity is what attracted me to MUSIC Matters which I joined sophomore year on the Talent & Concert Committee. In my Sophomore and Junior years I was a part of the A&R and Production teams, and will serve as the Head of Concert Operations and Advancement in the upcoming year. I'm very passionate about the ways music can better a community and feels fortunate to be a part of such an awesome team at MM. 

This summer I interned at Hangout Music Festival in Gulf Shores, Alabama. Since its inception the festival has grown from attracting 15,000 people per day in 2010 to 40,000 per day in 2017. In 2015, they partnered with AEG Goldenvoice and in 2016 was nominated for Major Festival of the year by Pollstar.

I, along with 25 other interns, spent 2 weeks leading up to and during the show working with various departments to help setup and run the event. During the festival I worked with the Sponsorship department to help manage the sponsor activations and serve as a liaison for the festival to companies including Corona, Monster, Malibu, Coke, Teva, and Harley among others. Although I worked mostly with the Sponsorship team, I also gained hands-on experience with the VIP, Site Operations, Artist Hospitality, and Media departments. 

 

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Despite the experience and insights I gained, I found the most rewarding part to be the connections I made. There are some truly amazing people in the festival world and being surrounded by a team of others who are just as passionate about music as you are is an inspiring thing.

There is no doubt the experiences and relationships I've made in MM have a direct correlation to the opportunities I’ve had outside of UoM. For example, I coincidentally ran into one of the speakers for a MM curriculum during Lost Kings set, who coincidentally played at SpringFest 2018. 

This summer I will also intern with Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival and Live Nation Global Touring. I'm very thankful for everyone at MM and am extremely excited to hit next year running! (P.S. Rumor has it you can spot me as the festival fairy on Hangout's Day 3 Instagram story)

MOvE 2018

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By: Tabitha Hendren

Imagine. Imagine a world where every single child has the opportunity to go to college. Imagine a world where every student has a role model to look up to and inspire them to keep moving forward. Imagine a world where every kid had a way to get even their most random of questions answered so they weren’t afraid to take a leap and reach for their goals. That’s what MOvE is. That’s what MOvE does. 

 

What is MOvE? You’ve (hopefully) read all the articles, all the social media posts about what we do and what our goal is, to inspire, encourage, and educate high school students from Henry Ford Academy about college and the future. But the thing we haven’t been able to genuinely show you is the true impact MOvE has. It’s so much more than those 48 hours.  The influence, the relationships, and the memories are not confined to one weekend in the summer. It’s the ripple effect afterwards. One interaction that seems so small starts the ripple that keeps moving outwards until now it’s ideally created social change.

 

No, when I say social change I don’t mean we find the cure for cancer or end world hunger in one weekend. No, we didn’t find the perfect way to achieve equality everywhere, but we did ignite the fire within each other and that’s where change stems from. Whether it’s telling the kid who spends all of his free time sketching that he can pursue his dream of being an artist, spending over an hour with a student talking about all the possible paths in college for their interests and talents, or sharing your own goals for the future as you all talk about where you want to be in 10 years, we lit a spark within each other. On Friday we were all sitting in a room surround by strangers, but on Sunday we parted ways from our friends, supporters, and the people who will continue to hold us accountable to our goals and dreams.

 

I have had the pleasure and opportunity to have worked on this summer camp from all perspectives. From the many hours in and out of the library working on curriculum and logistics to counselor training the morning the students arrived, along with four others I ate, slept, and breathed MOvE. To me, this is what MUSIC Matters was – some small summer camp we put on for a local high school. Walking out of Mojo on Sunday, May 19th, I realized that MOvE is so much more than that.

 

Personally, I met some of the most amazing kids I have ever known that weekend (I hope you guys are reading this now). They explained to me their struggles within all sorts of relationships, gushed over their goals of going to Harvard to study medicine, displayed their talents drawing caricatures, and told their jokes that made me laugh so hard I actually shed tears. Over the course of lunch on Saturday, I saw not only these few students but all of the students open up as they got more comfortable with the camera and I valiantly attempted to capture their multidimensional personalities that I know one day will move mountains. To me MOvE was so much more than inspiring them, because they inspired me.  They reminded me why it’s so important to set your goals high and your standards even higher. They showed me to see the good in every situation and reminded me that unless it’s going to matter in five years, don’t spend more than five minutes worrying about it. They reminded me that you can do anything you put your mind to, no matter how big or how small. These kids might not even know how powerful of an impact they have, but it just goes to show how important every interaction truly is. 

 

In the end, you can’t always find the right words to grasp something that has impacted you so greatly. MOvE moves you. Each and every student there, college and high school alike, took something from that camp. Whether it be life changing or simply a fond memory, it MOvEd us for the better. I would give so much so that everyone could have an experience like that- from both ends, but that’s not possible so I hope that after reading this you would at least get a taste and a reminder that you matter, your goals matter, your actions matter, and of course MUSIC Matters.